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Anti-drag protests and Posie Parker singled out in new report on far-right extremism

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Anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen, also known as Posie Parker, wears a red outfit as she speaks at an event which was met with counter-protesters

Anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, especially anti-trans rhetoric, is becoming “increasingly vocal and aggressive among the far right, according to HOPE not hate’s State of Hate 2023 report.

The annual report, “the most comprehensive and analytical guide to the state of far-right extremism in Britain today”, cited the increasing spate of protests against Drag Queen Story Hour in the UK as part of “far-right agitation”.

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Widespread protests against the family-friendly drag events began in the summer of 2022, following similar disruption in the US.

HOPE not hate said opposition gained traction after efforts by “conspiracy-oriented, COVID-sceptic groups, many of which had broadened their focus as pandemic anxiety abated”. It noted that the “backlash also found uptake among a melange of religious, feminist, anti-trans and anti-‘woke’ groups”.

The report said that “disproportionate media attention” on LGBTQ+ rights, especially trans rights, has been “partly responsible for pushing” Drag Queen Story Hour “up the far-right agenda”. 

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A crowd of LGBTQ+ people and supporters counter-protest against anti-trans activist Posie Parker
LGBTQ+ people and allies have repeatedly counter-protested events by anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen, also known as Posie Parker. (Getty)

“The campaign against DQSH is the spearhead of a wider anti-LGBT+ backlash and an attempt by the far right to capitalise on wider societal prejudice, particularly against the trans community,” HOPE not had said.

“The far right see trans rights as a fundamental challenge to their belief in traditional gender roles and family structures. …

“Right-wing tabloids continue to churn out stories that are reliably shared by far-right and conspiratorial activists to agitate their audiences. Campaigners appear emboldened by their successes, and leading fascists clearly believe they have a winning formula.”

The report also singled out Posie Parker, also known as Kellie-Jay Keen, as a “leading voice in the anti-trans movement”.

“She has increasingly found support from, and an overlap in, views with the far right, which has also increasingly focused on trans people,” the report read. 

It continued: “In January, she was praised by an activist of Anne Marie Water’s now-defunct For Britain party, and, in September, a rally hosted by [Parker] in Brighton was live-streamed by Hearts of Oak, a group founded by Tommy Robinson. Fellow extremists from the Independent Nationalist Network, and those from militant anti-vax group Alpha Team Assemble also attended. 

“[Parker] has also received international recognition. In March, she appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight, a conservative American talk show, to discuss her views on trans women in sports.”

Hundreds of anti-fascists, LGBTQ+ people and locals attend a counter-protest to defend Drag Queen Story Hour from right-wing activists
Hundreds of anti-fascists, LGBTQ+ people and locals attend a counter-protest to defend The Honor Oak pub, in south London, and Drag Queen Story Hour from a small number of right-wing campaigners. (Getty)

HOPE not hate noted that a gender-critical speaker at a January rally organised by Parker “referenced Adolf Hitler’s term ‘the big lie’ and drew a parallel to those supporting trans rights today”. 

The advocacy group warned that Parker’s influence is likely to grow as the “theme” of trans rights continues to be a “salient topic in the mainstream media as well as among the far right”. 

Self-proclaimed gender-critical campaigners have grown increasingly loud within the UK political sphere over recent years. In the past few years alone, there has been ample evidence of their expanding influence within government circlesnon-profit and corporate environments

The report also looked at Twitter allowing extremists back onto its platform following its takeover by Elon Musk, as well as the influence of misogynist Andrew Tate, currently being detained in Romania as part of a group accused of human trafficking and rape.

The controversial online influencer was banned from Twitter for saying women should “bear responsibility” for being sexually assaulted, but his account was later reinstated. 

In its report, HOPE not hate found Tate to br “staggeringly popular with young people”, specifically young men. The advocacy group found almost half (47 per cent) of young men polled had a positive view of him, compared with only eight per cent of young women.  In addition, almost two-thirds of Tate’s fans were found to have negative views about trans rights activists.

PinkNews contacted Kelly-Jay Keen for comment.

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